Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Giorgia Meloni's Election Victory: What the Rightward Shift Means for Italy

At Der Spiegel, "Right-wing radical politician Giorgia Meloni appears poised to govern Italy with an absolute majority after Sunday's election. But the amount of leeway she has will depend on two partners who are unlikely to be easy to deal with: Matteo Salvini and Silvio Belusconi":

In the end, it wasn’t quite enough. In the final few days of the campaign, Giorgia Meloni's opponents had suddenly appeared to have a chance. The center-left Democratic Party spoke of a shift in the mood. In southern Italy, the Five Star Movement, which had already been written off, was suddenly enthusiastically celebrated.

But soon after the polls closed at 11 p.m. on Sunday, the left’s dream lay shattered. According to initial forecasts, the nationalist alliance led by Meloni and her Fratelli d'Italia (FdI) party has secured an absolute majority in parliament.

Almost 11 years after the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi, who led his country to the brink of national bankruptcy, a right-wing government will soon be taking office again in Rome. The days when outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi stood firmly by the side of Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Washington are over.

Even before the right’s election victory, there had been much discussion about the dangers for Italy and Europe. Now, they could soon become reality.

Meloni hails from a neo-fascist splinter party that erected a monument to Italy's worst war criminal, a man responsible for genocide. She views Germany with "disgust." And she prefers to court Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán rather than German Chancellor Olaf Scholz or French President Emmanuel Macron.

The main question after her election victory is: How far will she go in carrying out her hostile agenda? Or will reality set in over the next few weeks, pushing the Meloni government to a reasonably moderate-conservative government program?

The 45-year-old now has to overcome three challenges that will come in quick succession...

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